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Trident Technical College names new president


Trident Technical College names new president

Apr 16, 2024 | 12:23 pm ET
By Jessica Holdman
Trident Technical College names new president
Trident Technical College has named Vicky Wood as its sixth president. (File photo provided by Midlands Technical College)

NORTH CHARLESTON — Trident Technical College named Vicky Wood as its sixth president Tuesday, taking her out of contention to lead another college in South Carolina.

Wood succeeds long-time President Mary Thornley, who in September 2023 announced her plans to retire after 30 years at the helm of the technical school based in North Charleston.

Under Thornley’s leadership, Trident Tech became the third-largest college among all of South Carolina’s two- and four-year schools in terms of undergraduate enrollment in the state — reaching more than 14,000 last fall. It also has been vital in training workers for major manufacturers such as Boeing and Volvo.

Wood was president of Washington State College of Ohio for seven years. She successfully lobbied to allow community colleges in Ohio to offer a bachelor’s degree, which allowed the college to add bachelor-level nursing program. She also raised millions of dollars for facility and technology upgrades and served on area economic development boards in Ohio.

Wood had also been a finalist in the presidential search underway at Midlands Technical College in Columbia.

Whoever is chosen for that role will lead the technical school through a major transition as it seeks to educate a workforce for the Midland’s first automotive manufacturer, Scout Motors. The Volkswagen subsidiary plans to employ upwards of 4,000 people at its electric vehicle assembly plant in Blythewood — a plant which could eventually double in size.

The remaining Midlands Tech finalists include:

  • Barrie Kirk has worked at Midlands Technical College for 29 years. She ascended to provost in 2018. In that time, the college has grown its enrollment and added apprenticeships to help students land high-demand jobs with local employers while completing their degree.
  • Greg Little was superintendent of Lexington One, the state’s sixth-largest district, for six years before moving to the state’s technical college system in 2022 as vice president for strategic partnerships and innovation. The state’s higher education agency recently tapped him as acting executive director.
  • Forest Mahan has worked in the South Carolina Technical College System for 28 years, starting as a history instructor at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. He has also served as vice president for academic affairs at Northeastern Technical College, and most recently, president of Aiken Technical College.

Midlands Tech spokesman Kevin Floyd said the Midlands Tech governing board is expected to name its own choice for president Wednesday.

That person will succeed President Ron Rhames, who retires June 30 after working 34 years for his alma mater, the last nine at the helm.